A movie review of “Seventh Son,” a sword-and-sorcery epic starring Jeff Bridges, Ben Barnes and Julianne Moore as the villain. Rating: 1.5 stars out of 4. spell
The only question that’s worth considering in “Seventh Son” is whether this all-star B-movie is bad enough to cost Julianne Moore her “Still Alice” Oscar. And the answer to that is, “Not really.”
A sword-and-sorcery epic built around Jeff Bridges, Bridges’ curmudgeonly accent, Bridges’ “Wild BillR.I.P.D.” goatee and Ben Barnes, it has Moore as the villain — a witch whom Bridges’ character must kill.
Playing a witch, as Meryl Streep or Susan Sarandon will tell you, calls for “big.” Moore is the queen of small — intimate, internal. So as Mother Malkin, out to avenge herself on the “spook,” Gregory (Bridges), Moore is miscast.
Movie Review ★½
‘Seventh Son,’ with Ben Barnes, Jeff Bridges, Julianne Moore, Alicia Vikander. Directed by Sergey Bodrov, from a screenplay by Charles Leavitt and Steven Knight, based on a Joseph Delaney novel. 104 minutes. Rated PG-13 for intense fantasy violence and action throughout, frightening images and brief strong language. Several theaters.
That’s OK, though, because Bridges is big enough for the both of them. Gregory is a grizzled, Falstaffian knight, all tight-lipped boozy bluster and wit. He’s in need of a new apprentice, a “Seventh Son” of a seventh son. That’s where Tom (Barnes of “Prince Caspian”) comes in. He’s a pig farmer’s son, handy with a knife, carrying a magical amulet from his mother (Olivia Williams) as his protection.
Most Read Entertainment Stories
- Seattle native Jean Smart wins Emmy Award for lead actress in a comedy
- How John Coltrane's Seattle recording of 'A Love Supreme' was found, thanks to 2 local saxophonists
- Judge cancels Rod Stewart's trial, sets plea deal hearing
- List of Emmy winners includes Jean Smart, 'Ted Lasso' actors
- AP PHOTOS: Elegance and whimsy mix at Venice Film Festival
The old knight is full of wisdom, which he shares. They’re entering a world “where legends and nightmares are real.” There are spirits, monsters and witches, and Gregory knows all their names.
The plot, taken from a Joseph Delaney novel, drives spook and apprentice toward a final fight with the witch queen, her allies (Djimon Hounsou among them) and their minions. Alicia Vikander (of “Anna Karenina”) is Alice, a temptation to Tom, and possibly a witch.
Sergey Bodrov (“Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan”) directs and stages some splendid if repetitious fights and flights, most of them involving digital dragons and such. This is strictly by-the-numbers moviemaking.
Still, it’s great seeing Bridges as Gregory, gumming his zingers like a classic coot from any number of Westerns, managing to keep us awake for the 104 minutes of “Seventh Son.” Barely.